A cist (/ˈsɪst/ or /ˈkɪst/; also kist /ˈkɪst/;[1][2] from Greek: κίστη or Germanic Kiste) is a small stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead. Examples can be found across Europe and in the Middle East.[3][4][5][6] A cist may have been associated with other monuments, perhaps under a cairn or long barrow. Several cists are sometimes found close together within the same cairn or barrow. Often ornaments have been found within an excavated cist, indicating the wealth or prominence of the interred individual.

This old word is preserved in the Swedish language, where "kista" is the word for a funerary coffin.[7]

Drizzlecombe kist 4
Kistvaen on the southern edge of Dartmoor in Drizzlecombe (England) showing the capstone and the inner cist structure.

Regional examples

  • Hepburn woods, Northumberland

See also


  1. ^ Houghton Mifflin (2000). The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-395-82517-4.
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster Unabridged (MWU). (Online subscription-based reference service of Merriam-Webster, based on Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002.) Headword cist. Accessed 2007-12-11.
  3. ^ A Cist Burial in Jordan
  4. ^ Burials in Ancient Palestine: From the Stone Age to Abraham
  5. ^ The Early Minoan Period: The Tombs
  6. ^ Excavation of Cist in Bologna, Italy
  7. ^ sv:likkista

External links

Abbot of Sweetheart

The Abbot of Sweetheart (later Commendator of Sweetheart; also Abbot of New Abbey) was the head of the Cistercian monastic community of Sweetheart Abbey, in the ancient province of Galloway in the present area of Dumfries and Galloway, founded by monks from Dundrennan Abbey with the patronage of Derbhfhorghaill inghean Ailein (a.k.a. "Dervorguilla Balliol"), Lady of Galloway, about 1275. The following are a list of abbots and commendators.

Ballykeel Dolmen

Ballykeel Dolmen is a neolithic tripod portal tomb and a State Care Historic Monument at the foot of the western flank of Slieve Gullion, above a tributary of the Forkhill river, in the Newry and Mourne District Council area, at grid ref: H9950 2132.The dolmen sits at the southern end of a large cairn, of approximately 30x10 metres, the north end of which also contains a cist. Its three metre long capstone, with a notable notch similar to that of Legananny Dolmen, had previously fallen, but was re-set during excavations in 1963.Excavations of the chamber revealed different types of pottery, including three highly decorated "Ballyalton" bowls, and the cist contained several hundred sherds of Neolithic pottery, a javelin head, and three flint flakes.

Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist (Latin: Bernardus Claraevallensis; 1090 – 20 August 1153) was a French abbot and a major leader in the reform of Benedictine monasticism that caused the formation of the Cistercian order.

"...He was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val d'Absinthe, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) southeast of Bar-sur-Aube. According to tradition, Bernard founded the monastery on 25 June 1115, naming it Claire Vallée, which evolved into Clairvaux. There Bernard would preach an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary." In the year 1128, Bernard attended the Council of Troyes, at which he traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar, which soon became the ideal of Christian nobility.

On the death of Pope Honorius II on 13 February 1130, a schism broke out in the Church. King Louis VI of France convened a national council of the French bishops at Étampes in 1130, and Bernard was chosen to judge between the rivals for pope. By the end of 1131, the kingdoms of France, England, Germany, Portugal, Castile, and Aragon supported Pope Innocent II; however, most of Italy, southern France, and Sicily, with the Latin patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem supported Antipope Anacletus II. Bernard set out to convince these other regions to rally behind Innocent.

In 1139, Bernard assisted at the Second Council of the Lateran. He subsequently denounced the teachings of Peter Abelard to the pope, who called a council at Sens in 1141 to settle the matter. Bernard soon saw one of his disciples elected Pope Eugene III. Having previously helped end the schism within the church, Bernard was now called upon to combat heresy. In June 1145, Bernard traveled in southern France and his preaching there helped strengthen support against heresy. He preached at the Council of Vézelay (1146) to recruit for the Second Crusade.

After the Christian defeat at the Siege of Edessa, the pope commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade. The last years of Bernard's life were saddened by the failure of the crusaders, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him. Bernard died at the age of 63, after 40 years as a monk. He was the first Cistercian placed on the calendar of saints, and was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. In 1830 Pope Pius VIII bestowed upon Bernard the title "Doctor of the Church".

Bryn Cader Faner

Bryn Cader Faner is a Bronze Age round cairn which lies to the east of the small hamlet of Talsarnau in the Ardudwy area of Gwynedd in Wales. The diameter is 8.7 metres (29 ft) and there are 18 thin jagged pillars which jut upwards from the low cairn. It is thought to date back to the late third millennium BC.

The site was disturbed by 19th-century treasure-seekers, who left a hole in the center indicating the position of a cist or a grave. Originally there may have been about 30 pillars, each some 2 metres (7 ft) long. However, before the Second World War, the British army used the site for gunnery practice and damaged many of the stones on the east side.Bryn Cader Faner is thought to mean 'the hill with the chair with the flag' or 'the hill of the throne with the flag'.

Cat Stane

The Cat Stane, or Catstane, is an inscribed standing stone near Kirkliston, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, in Scotland. It bears a fragmentary inscription dating to the fifth or sixth centuries and was part of a funerary complex consisting of the stone itself, a cairn and a series of cist burials.The stone's Latin inscription is interpreted as a dedication to a deceased woman whose remains were interred near the stone. Dates have been ascribed to the stone and its inscription by considering the script used and the results of several excavations conducted in modern times.

The stone appears to have been erected in the Bronze Age while the inscription was added in the fifth or sixth centuries AD. During the latter period the area around modern Edinburgh was controlled by the nation known as either the Votadini or the Gododdin.

The Cat Stane now lies within the perimeter of Edinburgh Airport, making it impossible for the general public to access it. Nearby is the confluence of the Gogar Burn and the River Almond. The stone is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.


The Cistercians () officially the Order of Cistercians (Latin: (Sacer) Ordo Cisterciensis, abbreviated as OCist or SOCist), are a Catholic religious order of monks and nuns that branched off from the Benedictines and follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also known as Bernardines, after the highly influential St. Bernard of Clairvaux (though that term is also used of the Franciscan Order in Poland and Lithuania); or as White Monks, in reference to the colour of the "cuccula" or white choir robe worn by the Cistercians over their habits, as opposed to the black cuccula worn by Benedictine monks.

The term Cistercian (French Cistercien), derives from Cistercium, the Latin name for the village of Cîteaux, near Dijon in eastern France. It was in this village that a group of Benedictine monks from the monastery of Molesme founded Cîteaux Abbey in 1098, with the goal of following more closely the Rule of Saint Benedict. The best known of them were Robert of Molesme, Alberic of Cîteaux and the English monk Stephen Harding, who were the first three abbots. Bernard of Clairvaux entered the monastery in the early 1110s with 30 companions and helped the rapid proliferation of the order. By the end of the 12th century, the order had spread throughout France and into England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

The keynote of Cistercian life was a return to literal observance of the Rule of St Benedict. Rejecting the developments the Benedictines had undergone, the monks tried to replicate monastic life as it had been in Saint Benedict's time; indeed in various points they went beyond it in austerity. The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, especially agricultural work in the fields, a special characteristic of Cistercian life. The Cistercians also made major contributions to culture and technology in medieval Europe: Cistercian architecture is considered one of the most beautiful styles of medieval architecture; and the Cistercians were the main force of technological diffusion in fields such as agriculture, hydraulic engineering, and metallurgy.

The original emphasis of Cistercian life was on manual labour and self-sufficiency, and many abbeys have traditionally supported themselves through activities such as agriculture and brewing ales. Over the centuries, however, education and academic pursuits came to dominate the life of many monasteries. A reform movement seeking a simpler lifestyle began in 17th-century France at La Trappe Abbey, and became known as the Trappists. The Trappists were eventually consolidated in 1892 into a new order called the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Latin: Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae), abbreviated as OCSO. The Cistercians who did not observe these reforms and remained within the Order of Cistercians and are sometimes called the Cistercians of the Common Observance when distinguishing them from the Trappists.

Dartmoor kistvaens

Dartmoor kistvaens are burial tombs or cists from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age, i.e. from c 2500 BC to c 1500 BC. Kistvaens have been found in many places, including Dartmoor, a 954 km2 (368 square miles) area of moorland in south Devon, England. The box-like stone tombs were created when the ancient people of the area lived in hut circles. Cists are often to be found in the centre of a cairn circle although some appear solitary which could be the result of the loss of an original slight mound. There are over 180 known cists on Dartmoor although there could be up to 100 that remain buried underneath unexplored cairns. In the South West there are no cists to be found on the Quantock Hills, only 2 to be found on Exmoor and 58 to be found on Bodmin Moor. The Dartmoor cists are unique in that about 94% have the longer axis of the tomb oriented in a NW/SE direction It appears that Dartmoor cists were positioned in such a way that the deceased were facing the sun.In August 2011 an untouched cist, on Whitehorse Hill, near Chagford, was the first to be excavated on the moor for over 100 years. This burial yielded some rare Bronze Age artefacts made of organic materials.


Harray (pronounced ) (Old Norse: Herað - cf Harris) is a parish on Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It has the unique distinction of being the only parish without a coastline, instead being landlocked and sitting next to a freshwater loch. Harray is surrounded by almost all the other parishes of the west mainland, extending southward from Birsay until it reaches the A965.

Harray is mostly flat and swampy, and has many mounds or 'howes' (from the Old Norse word Haugr meaning mound or hill). Excavations have revealed a burial cist in the largest mound as well as a Bronze Age building nearby.


Harrespil is the Basque name, that can be translated by "stone circle", given to small megalithic monuments which abounds on mountains of the Basque Country in particular. They are also called baratz, a basque word meaning "garden" and traditionally applied to the prehistoric necropoles.

Gathered in necropoles of 5 to 20 monuments, they appeared during the late bronze age (from approximately -1200) but remained used during the iron age.

These burials are distinguished from the preceding ones by the recourse to cremation, like in the urnfield culture.

More spectacular by its fitting than by the size of the stones, the harrespil is formed of a rectangular cist made of flat stones containing ashes of the dead, and of a stone circle.

The circle measures about 5 to 6 m in diameter and is made of a great number of medium stones.

The cist, of approximately a meter by 60 cm, consists of 4 side flagstones and a flagstone of cover.

These burials coexisted with tumuli, a little earlier, also sheltering a cist for ashes, but surrounded of stones in bulk. These architectures are sometimes combined, as in Zaho II where the harrespil is buried under a mound, delimited by a second stone circle.

Henry M. Cist

Henry Martyn Cist (February 20, 1839 – December 16, 1902) was an American soldier, lawyer, and author who was a Union Army captain and staff officer during the American Civil War. On December 11, 1866 he was nominated and on February 6, 1867 he was confirmed for appointment to the grade of brevet brigadier general of volunteers, to rank from March 13, 1865. He is most noted for his classic and oft-referenced 1882 book The Army of the Cumberland. In addition, Cist led pioneering efforts to preserve and interpret the sites of the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga.

Kuthannoor (gram panchayat)

Kuthannoor (or Kuthanur, Kuthannur, Kuthanoor) is a gram panchayat in the Palakkad district, state of Kerala, India. It is a local government organisation that serves the villages of Kuthannur-I and Kuthannur-II. It is a part of the Tharoor assembly constituency.One of the six "sangams" or associations of Tholpavakoothu, a form of puppetry, originated in Kuthanur. Krishnan Kutty Pulavar Memorial Tolpavakoothu & Puppet Centre perform puppetry performances at Nadumannath Bhagawathi and Kuthannur Kavu temples in Kuthanur.Megalithic relics have been discovered in ten acres of reserved forest at Muppuzha, Kuthanoor. These comprise 100 port-hole cists that show strong similarities with dolmens from different parts of Europe, such as the Iberian Peninsula, France, Caucasus mountains, Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Israel. The Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology describes a port-hole cist thus: "a box-like burial chamber, largely underground and built of gneissic orthostats floorstone and capstone but arranged inside a rectangular pit scooped out of the native laterite. The e. orthostat has a port-hole which is blocked by a small slab on the outside. The entire structure is surrounded by a stone circle. The cist sometimes has a bench inside ..."

Moel Tŷ Uchaf

Moel Tŷ Uchaf is a stone circle near the village of Llandrillo, Denbighshire, North Wales. It is a collection of 41 stones with a Cist in the centre and an outlying stone to the north-north-east. The circle is 12 metres in diameter.Moel Ty Uchaf is also the name of the hill on which the circle is located.

Native Communications

Native Communications Inc. (NCI) is a public radio network in the Canadian province of Manitoba. The network provides programming by and for Canadian First Nations.

NCI-FM broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on more than 50 FM radio transmitters located throughout Manitoba, reaching over 70 communities. Its headquarters is located at 1507 Inkster Boulevard in Winnipeg. The company also operates CIUR-FM, a youth-oriented radio station in Winnipeg which airs distinct programming from the main network.

The newest major site (on-air May 2002) includes a transmitter (2.7 watts) located near Minnedosa, servicing the Brandon and Dauphin regions. as welll as one in Ontario.

Nine Mile Canyon

Nine Mile Canyon is a canyon, approximately 40 miles (60 km) long, located in the counties of Carbon and Duchesne in eastern Utah, in the Western United States. Promoted as "the world’s longest art gallery", the canyon is known for its extensive rock art, most of it created by the Fremont culture and the Ute people. The rock art, shelters, and granaries left behind by the Fremont make Nine Mile Canyon a destination for archaeologists and tourists alike.

The canyon became a main transport corridor in the region during the 1880s. Settlers established a number of ranches in Nine Mile, and even a short-lived town named Harper. No longer heavily traveled, the rugged canyon road was used mostly for recreation and tourism through the end of the 20th century. The discovery of rich deposits of natural gas deep beneath the Tavaputs Plateau has brought an influx of industrial truck traffic since 2002. The large amounts of fugitive dust produced by the trucks' passage may be damaging the rock art. Public debate is ongoing about how best to balance energy development in the canyon against the preservation of its cultural resources.

Orani João Tempesta

Orani João Tempesta, O.Cist., (Portuguese pronunciation: [oɾɐˈɲi] (SP) or [ɔɾɐ̃ˈɲi] (RJ) [ˈʒwɐ̃w tẽˈpɛʃtɐ] born on 23 June 1949) is the Metropolitan Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was appointed to that office by Pope Benedict XVI on 27 February 2009, and took possession of the see on 19 April 2009. He became a Cardinal in 2014.

Pettigarths Field Cairns

The Pettigarths Field Cairns is a Neolithic site in the parish of Nesting, northeastern Whalsay, in the Shetland islands of Scotland. It is located approximately 140 metres (460 ft) to the northwest of Benie Hoose. The site contains upright stones as well as masonry. The south cairn is roughly 6 metres (20 ft) square, with an eastern entrance passage and circular chamber about 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) across. 4 metres (13 ft) to the north is a round cairn, 4.5 metres (15 ft) in diameter, with a rectangular cist. The two cairns are located on a rise, about 140 metres (460 ft) northwest of Benie Hoose.

The first archaeological explorations were carried out in 1936 and 1938. They were then inferred to be tombs belonging to the Late Stone Age and Early Bronze Age. It was excavated in 1963 by C. S. T. Calder and visited by OS (NKB) on 30 May 1968.

Ring cairn

A ring cairn (also correctly termed a ring bank enclosure, but sometimes wrongly described as a ring barrow) is a circular or slightly oval, ring-shaped, low (maximum 0.5 metres high) embankment, several metres wide and from 8 to 20 metres in diameter. It is made of stone and earth and was originally empty in the centre. In several cases the middle of the ring was later used (at Hound Tor, for example, there is a stone cist in the centre). The low profile of these cairns is not always possible to make out without conducting excavations.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Pelplin

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pelplin (Latin: Pelplinen(sis); Kashubian: Pelplińskô diecezjô) is a diocese located in the city of Pelplin in the Ecclesiastical province of Gdańsk in Poland.

Woodhill, Angus

Woodhill is a settlement in Angus, Scotland. It lies at a central point between Carnoustie and Monifieth on the east on an unclassified road linking the A92 and A930 roads. Woodhill House was erected in 1604 by William Auchinleck who later became Provost of Dundee. It was demolished and rebuilt in 1908.The area has been occupied since the Neolithic period, as evidenced by a Cursus monument, identified from cropmarks, as well as Bronze Age short cist burials that are found periodically.


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